Say what you will about Elon Musk, the man knows how to build hype and get people talking. As soon as the media buzz about the 2019 LA Auto Show died down, the PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla founder conducted his own invitation-only event to show off his latest creation, Tesla’s much-anticipated pickup truck, officially dubbed the Cybertruck.
What many of us expected was something that looked like a modern pickup truck without a grille. What we got was just this side of insane.
My gut reaction to the angular and unconventional design of the Cybertruck was that it was downright ugly. Then I took a moment to stand back and reflect. Was I letting my preconceived notions stand in the way of progress? We live in a sea of design homogeneity, with government regulations and focus groups driving product design as much as anything. But the Cybertruck bucks convention in just about every way, giving us a vehicle that looks more like something off of the set of Judge Dredd than a vehicle you’d expect to see driving around the ‘burbs in 2022. So I will give it to Musk… he clearly is thinking outside of the box.
Tesla is making some very lofty claims about the Cybertruck’s capabilities too. Depending on the model you buy, towing ability ranges from 7500 to 14000 pounds, with cargo capacity up to 3500 pounds. Driving range starts at 250 miles in the single-motor RWD version, with up to 500 miles of range in the tri-motor AWD version. And Elon is talking 0-to-60 times as fast as 2.9 seconds or less. It’s also got an adaptive air suspension as standard equipment, and oh yeah, it’s bulletproof. That’s crazy talk… or is it amazing talk?
With pricing starting at $39,900 for the base model, $49,900 for the dual-motor AWD, and $69,900 for the tri-motor AWD, I simply can’t figure out how they could afford to include the amount of battery capacity Tesla will need to pull off those aforementioned feats, but if anyone can do it, it’s Elon and crew. It’s got a stripped-down interior, with no mechanical gauges, and a single digital display in the center of the dash. Plus, its primitive body design is likely much easier to produce than the typically-curvaceous and frilly modern truck, so they’ll save money in other places.
At the same time that I want to be excited about the claims about power, performance, range, capability, and price, there’s still a lot to be worked out before Tesla can put what is clearly a concept vehicle into production. For example, where are the mirrors going to go on this thing? And can those wheels and tires actually be produced? What happens to the range and performance numbers with any payload? Lots of unanswered questions for sure.
But here’s the thing. As insane as the Cybertruck might look, or as implausible as its stats sound on paper, we all have to remember that progress and change sometimes need to really shake things up to shift mindsets and create momentum. Perhaps we all look back in 20 years, driving around in our wedge-shaped, autonomous EVs, and say “remember when we thought the Cybertruck was a crazy idea?”
So today, I raise my glass (and my vape pen) to you, Elon Musk:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”